May 25, 2024

Smile Happy, Echo Zulu favored in Kentucky Derby, Oaks future wagers

Echo Zulu with Joel Rosario riding wins the Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies at Del Mar (Photo by Horsephotos)

Although Smile Happy was beaten to second place in last month’s Risen Star S. (G2), the promising sophomore remains the favorite to claim the Kentucky Derby (G1) eight weeks from now.

The son of Runhappy settled as the 6-1 individual favorite when Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 4 closed on Sunday evening. Smile Happy previously nabbed 8-1 individual favoritism in each of the first three pools.

The overall favorite in Pool 4 was the always-popular “All Other Three-Year-Olds” option, which closed at 4-1. The only other betting interest settling at single-digit odds was speedy San Felipe S. (G2) hero Forbidden Kingdom, who slotted in right behind Smile Happy at 7-1.

Classic Causeway, fresh off an easy win in Saturday’s Tampa Bay Derby (G2), closed at 10-1. Epicenter, who conquered Smile Happy in the Risen Star, settled at 13-1, followed by impressive maiden winner Charge It (17-1), Gotham S. (G3) winner Morello (17-1), Fountain of Youth S. (G2) hero Simplification (19-1), and Withers S. (G3) winner Early Voting (19-1) in a crowded pack of contenders under 20-1.

The competitive nature of Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 4 proved attractive to bettors. The pool attracted $374,702 in wagers over the course of three days, a 16.2% increase compared to 2021.

1Barber RoadOrtiz, John A39 – 1
2Call Me MidnightDesormeaux, J K68 – 1
3Charge ItPletcher, Todd A17 – 1
4Classic CausewayLynch, Brian A10 – 1
5CyberknifeCox, Brad H36 – 1
6Early VotingBrown, Chad C19 – 1
7EmmanuelPletcher, Todd A33 – 1
8EpicenterAsmussen, Steven M13 – 1
9Ethereal RoadLukas, D W32 – 1
10Forbidden KingdomMandella, Richard E7 – 1
11In Due TimeBreen, Kelly J48 – 1
12Major GeneralPletcher, Todd A65 – 1
13Mo DonegalPletcher, Todd A24 – 1
14MorelloAsmussen, Steven M17 – 1
15Pioneer of MedinaPletcher, Todd A71 – 1
16Rattle N RollMcPeek, Kenneth G31 – 1
17ShipsationalBarker, Edward R51 – 1
18SimplificationSano, Antonio19 – 1
19Smile HappyMcpeek, Kenneth G6 – 1
20Un OjoCourville, Ricky36 – 1
21White AbarrioJoseph Jr. ,Saffie A22 – 1
22ZandonBrown, Chad C22 – 1
23ZozosCox, Brad H30 – 1
24All Other Three Year OldsUnknown Trainer4 – 1

Running concurrent with Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 4 was the lone Kentucky Oaks Future Wager, but betting in Oaks pool unfolded in starkly different fashion. Rather than support “All Other Three-Year-Old Fillies” as the overall choice, bettors showed only minimum interest in the catch-all option, allowing it to close at 6-1.

Instead, the favorite was Echo Zulu, the undefeated champion two-year-old filly of 2021. Although she hasn’t run this year, Echo Zulu closed at the remarkably short odds of 5-2, followed by runaway Honeybee S. (G3) winner Secret Oath at 7-2.

As a testament to the dominance of the early Kentucky Oaks favorites, Davona Dale S. (G2) winner Kathleen O. (9-1), Demoiselle S. (G2) heroine Nest (14-1), and Busher S. winner Venti Valentine (15-1) were the only other fillies to settle at less than 20-1.

The Kentucky Oaks Future Wager pool attracted $90,737 in wagers, a 15.9% increase from 2021. In addition, an Oaks/Derby Future Double drew $84,591, 19.6% more than last year.

The future wager series concludes with Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 5, slated to take place from Mar. 31 through Apr. 2.